Game Review by Debbie Winkler
# of Players: 1
Target Age Group: 5 and up
Average Game Play: 2 – 8 hours
Type of Game: Match 3
My Rating: 3/5 stars
Enter the magical realm of the Pixies! Race against time to make as many matches as you can before the timer comes out. The more tiles you match, the more water you earn to help you refill the pond.
This is a match-3 game with a fun twist, but a little lacking in execution. The game itself is very basic and clean cut. The main menu contains 3 options: play game, how to play, and exit. There are no options as there are no sound effects and no music. If you click on the “how to play” button, it will take you through two screens that show you the basics and then one more screen that shows what your power ups are and how to earn them. You do not need to click on the “how to play” button if it is your first time, however, as there is a brief tutorial.
You have a very short timer (1 – 9 seconds) on the left hand side of your screen that will show you how much time you have to make matches. The more matches you make, the more time gets added to the timer. Simply click on two adjacent tiles (horizontal or vertical) and make matches of 3 tiles or more. Once you make a match, those tiles will be covered with vines and will be untouchable until the timer runs out. You can add a single tile to a row or a column of matches, which is a nice touch and adds a bit of extra dimension to this match-3 game. The goal is to match the whole board and have it all covered with vines, but I was never able to achieve this. Once you cannot make any more matches, wait for the timer to run out. After all the time is gone, your bonuses will accrue to fill the water meter on the left hand side of the screen. Once you fill the meter all the way to the top, you pass the level and can start the next level.
There are 2 different power ups that you can earn as you play. One of them is a mushroom, which is earned by making matches that form a square, and will cover a row or column with vines if you activate it on the board. The other is a lightning cloud, which is earned by making matches that cover an entire row or column, and it will throw lighting out in a radial position covering all affected tiles with vines. These power ups are critical to your success on later levels, where there will be stones on your game grid. The stones cannot be matched or moved so the only way to get rid of them is to use one of your power ups and wait for the timer to run out.
That is it. That is what the whole game is. The game grid will expand or contract as you play, depending on the level, and the stones will come and go. There are several different icons you will be matching, all of them fantasy-themed (fairies, gnomes, unicorns, etc.). The larger the game grid, the more icons will be in play. This is both easier and harder to make matches as the easy levels start you out with 3 different types of icons and you work up to many more than that. The key to success with this game is to make the biggest chain of vine-covered tiles that you can. Try to focus on matching all of one type of tile and leave the rest of the tiles unmatched. Traditional match-3 strategies do not really work in this game as, the more matches you make, the fewer options you have. Remember that, once you make a match, the tile is covered with vines and is no longer in play until the board refreshes. The more tiles you match, the more will clear when the timer runs out. The game will then make automatic matches as tiles drop down until there are no locations on the board with 3 tiles matched together. Then the timer starts again and you keep playing.
If you are willing to give a match-3 game a try that is a bit different, but also pretty clunky, give this one a try. There is no way to pause the game so play until you are done and then you will have to exit out. Again, there are no bells and whistles in this game. There is no storyline here, no cute little characters to follow along with, noting like that. The interface is basic and no-frills, but it gets the job done. The tiles are pretty big on most of the game grids, but they do get smaller as the game board expands to more difficult levels. Fortunately, the tile icons are unique, have different colors and shapes, and are easy to keep separate and make matches with. Definitely play the free trial to see if this game is suitable for your tastes before you buy.
This game is appropriate for all viewers. There is a little reading involved at the beginning of the game to run through the tutorial and to introduce you to the power ups, but that is it. Recommended for ages 5 and up.